30.06.2024 Author: Henry Kamens

Cyprus, Lebanon: Does Israel and US REALLY Seek to Open up YET another Can of Worms, Front in Self Preservation Damage Control?

Cyprus, Lebanon: Does Israel and US REALLY Seek to Open up YET another Can of Worms, Front in Self Preservation Damage Control?

One does not have to dig deep, or have deeply placed sources in the intelligence community, to know what desperate steps will come next in the debacle over Hamas versus Israel, and the ongoing genocide in Gaza, turn now to Hezbollah, Northern Israel, and how the US must live up to its obligations in protecting its most trusted ally in the region – the “fledgling” State of Israel …  And if you believe that – I suspect that you would like to swallow all what is going on in the World today hook, line and sinker as making the world Safe for Democracy and the American Way.

It goes without saying, thanks to the situation in Ukraine, and the conclusion that National politics in Europe are in disarray after the recent E.U. elections, and that the US election predications and the current state of political affairs are in even greater disarray—shown by the failed policies on three fronts, Russia-Ukraine, Israel, and Asia.

Matters are all the more complicated by Netanyahu’s management of the war, his disbanding of the war council, and now the government’s centrist contingency has walked out, leaving the wartime coalition as an increasingly embattled ultra-rightwing alliance.

Things are going to another stage, not out of necessity of expanding the war to gain victory but to draw attention away from the myriad failures in Gaza, especially Netanyahu’s role in making all things go wrong, especially for the Jewish People and the State of Israel.

CNN reports now how in a fiery speech this last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah singled out nearby Cyprus, even   threatening to target the small, divided Mediterranean island if it aids Israel in a potential war between the Lebanese militant group and Israel.

What does he know that we should know?

Cyprus will be part of this war too” if it opens its airports and bases to Israeli forces, Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address that came just a day after Israel warned the powerful Iran-backed militant group that the prospect of “all-out war” was “getting very close.

It is clear that Netanyahu would only prepare to take on Hezbollah out of desperation, and knowing that he will be outmatched and outgunned and how the US is prepared, or has [already agreed] to intervene to protect Israel. This could be the political salvation for both Netanyahu and Biden because of the political and criminal heat that will come down on them like a hammer on an anvil unless their respective electorates are distracted by something else.

Of course, the US offers assurances to Israel in the event of a full-blown war with Hezbollah, in that it will come to its aid, however, will it be enough, and is the US prepared for a full-fledged regional war?  The answer to this question is almost certainly not, but a war president or PM has room to maneuver political minefields, and many in the US, who could not find Israel or the countries affected on the map would support a shooting war, and it will be presented by CNN and Fox News as the right thing to do.

The US claims, according to Israeli news, that the US is worried Netanyahu could wage war on Hezbollah for political gain – as if that is not the plan, and not one concocted by the politically threatened and criminally liable Israeli leader who speaks more for an American audience than the Israeli population.

The motivation should be as clear as day. “If the Gaza war ends tomorrow, Netanyahu’s political career will end with it, incentivizing him to broaden the conflict,” anonymous US officials told the Washington Post. And it is not only his career that is threatened but his coalition of the far-right and religious extremists. All the while, the US may claim that it wants to prevent this from happening, whereas in all reality it wants it to, and this will be Manna from Heaven for Biden, Blinken and Sullivan, and another 50 or so intelligence experts, who are far out of their league in Ukraine and consider it high time to shift the focus of military action to another region of the world, and leave the mess in Ukraine for the Europeans to try to deal with.

I really doubt if White House officials are concerned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could initiate a full-blown war against the Hezbollah in Lebanon in order to save his own political career, and Hamas was his baby to start with, with Mossad creating the Islamist group, so to prevent the possibility of a two-state solution from ever happening.

The powerful Iran-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah has been waging a limited but escalating conflict with the IDF over the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7. Already Northern Israel is depopulated of Zionist Settlers, as well as much of the Golan Heights, and this is an economic hit on the country that cannot afford a war without US support.

However, since it is an election year in the US, and APAC has prepaid for all the support it needs, the conventional wisdom is if Israel goes to war in Lebanon, then the US will support it as well. It is also understood that it does not matter who wins in November, as Trump equally supports Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu, right or wrong, as they are all birds of feather; they can do no wrong, and Trump’s track record for illegally moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem during his presidency speaks louder than words.

What is not being mentioned is the role that Egypt and Turkey would play if Israel and the US would start a hot war in the region, and if the US is prepared for such a hornet’s nest. So far both the leaders of these two countries have been held on a short lease, thanks to political and financial support, and promised loan forgiveness, however, for them not to react when their populations support the plight of the Palestinians may be lead to their demise.

Take for instance how Turkish and leaders always try to walk a fine line in their approach to Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, and for local consumption, like to criticize Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government while not being willing to take concrete retaliatory steps that might affect economic relations, at least until recently, with a Turkish boycott of Israel products.

Erdoğan’s domestic calculations likewise made him cautious about alienating a key regional actor, U.S. ally, and economic player. He has to walk a tightrope for his own political survival due to economic realities, and unfortunately, as with most conflict regions, economics come before doing the right thing.

This brings us back to Cyprus as a possible flashpoint in the short term, and why threaten little Cyprus?  Most definitely, Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to Cyprus wasn’t happenstance, as the republic has long-standing ties with Israel, much to Hezbollah’s dismay. In recent years, the island has hosted multiple joint air defense drills and annual Special Forces exercises with Israel focused on potential threats from Hezbollah and Iran.

Hassan Nasrallah’s he knows that Turkey quietly accepts his position, considering that Cyprus is a divided Island, with half occupied by Turkey, and Hassan knows that my enemies enemy is my friend, and better to threaten someone with little clout than a major power directly.

He also understands that few in Europe are worried about the problems that Cyprus may bring on itself, and will likely not buy into any efforts to rally “the EU and all its member states to denounce Hezbollah’s brazen threats and designate it as a terrorist organization, as many other countries around the world have already done.”

This was a controlled, i.e., a mild threat in comparison to the real ones that the US and EU make on a daily basis against the Russian Federation and others who think in more realist terms of the way the world order should operate.

Horrendous attack

A further impetus to the desire of the US administration to support Israel is likely to be the horrendous attack on civilian beach goers in Sevastopol, in the Crimea. The fact that the attack was made by ATACMS missiles, four out of five of which were shot down, which can only be used with the assistance of US military experts, and the support of US satellites and drones, particularly the RQ-4 Global Hawk, as well as the sudden rise in Islamist attacks in Dagestan and on the Russian border with Abkhazia, show that the US is directly involved in attacks on Russian civilians.

What better way to distract from this fact, than to ignite a conflagration in Lebanon?


Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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